Libraries in South Gloucestershire have reopened. The opening hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekdays. Saturday morning opening times will vary according to the branch. Due to the need to observe social distancing customers will not be able to just drop in to visit a library and use the services at any time. Instead customers need to book in advance so the safety of staff and our customers can be ensured. The service will be offering a click and collect service for books, DVDs and audiobooks. Library members will need to select an appointment online or call the libraries 01454 865022. Members will need to provide some basic information (such as title, genre, author, etc.), a time they can collect and the library they wish to use. Members will need to call 01454 868006 to book an appointment to either use a computer or a designated area to access the free wi-fi with their own device. Sessions will be limited to one hour to manage demand. For those who are unable to make alternative arrangements (e.g. family, using Click and Collect) the Home Library Service will continue to provide support using both staff and volunteers. During the last three months this has continued to deliver services to over 600 vulnerable people and families who are reliant on reading for their wellbeing.
South Gloucestershire Council have announced they are undertaking a ‘call for sites’ for the preparation of the South Gloucestershire Local Plan 2018-36. The Local Plan will allocate sites for the new homes, jobs, infrastructure, services, and facilities that will be needed within South Gloucestershire. The purpose of the ‘call for sites’ is to provide an opportunity for people to identify sites they think may have the potential for development (for housing or economic purposes) through the Local Plan. It is important to note any landowner can submit a site for consideration; this does not indicate that a site is capable of being development. The call for sites closes on 20th October. Details about the call for sites can be found at https://consultations.southglos.gov.uk/consult.ti/Call_for_sites_2020
As the government moves vulnerable people out of the “shielding” period of the COVID crisis at the end of July there will be some issues that may continue to affect them, including issues around food poverty. The ‘sheilding team’ are still working on to be available to support this group although some of the official supports channels will be stopping. Residents affected have been written to and are encouraged to remain in contact with the Council if they feel they are relying on the additional official support measures they have been receiving until now following the lockdown. Food banks have voucher schemes and more support has been made available to them. SGC is keen to help the development of the Covid situation. Care homes in SGC have “solid outbreak management plans”. SGC has a website giving detail of the Outbreak Management Plans. https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/care-home-support-plan/
Local Planning System Changes
A number of significant revisions were agreed at the meeting of the of South Gloucestershire Council on 15th July. Firstly, town and parish councils will be allotted their own 5 minutes to present arguments to members of the planning committees. At present they must share a maximum of 5 minutes with any residents wishing to speak. The number of district councillors required to refer an planning application from the Circulated Schedule to one of the planning committees has been reduced from three to one although the Chair of the planning committee in question, after discussion with opposition Lead Members, will have the power to veto the referral to committee if, in their opinion, it does not meet a set of criteria (which are yet to be determined). Finally, when the Development Management Committee (DMC) is not determining a ‘major application’ (as defined by statute), they will be able to overturn the case officer’s recommendation without that decision needing to go before the Spatial Planning Committee for final decision.
Recycling Collection, Garden Waste Collection and Sort It Centres Mangotsfield, Thornbury, Little Stoke and Yate Sort It Centres are now all open. Sort It Centres still cannot accept clothing or textiles for recycling as the council’s recycling supplier is not currently operating due to coronavirus. All Sort It Centres have reverted to normal hours (from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). The Re-use Shop at the Thornbury site will remain closed until further notice. More information about waste and recycling services, including the social distancing rules in operation to keep staff and residents safe, can be found at https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/waste-and-recyclingchanges-due-to-coronavirus-covid19/
Council Consultations South Gloucestershire Council has drafted two new Supplementary Planning Guidance documents. The first is on householder extensions and the second concerns barn conversions. The consultation for these documents closes o 18th October. Further information can be found at https://consultations.southglos.gov.uk/consult.ti/SPD_HH_20/
The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out the way South Gloucestershire Council will involve the local community, stakeholders, and statutory bodies in the preparation of new planning policy documents and in consultation on planning applications. The SCI was last updated in January 2015. A refresh of the 2015 SCI is in the process of being undertaken, which takes account of updated regulations, new digital solutions, benchmarking of other authorities and the COVID-19 pandemic. This consultation ends on 18th October and can be found at https://consultations.southglos.gov.uk/consult.ti/SCI2020
SGC has been working with the Local Strategic Partnership and other partners in relation to the Climate Emergency. WECA (West of England Combined Authority) is investing £13m in cycling & walking infrastructure and SGC will get a good proportion of this.